The definitive truth about Black Friday ‘bargains’: Everyone wonders if they’re all they’re cracked up to be… so we spent a year tracking changing prices
Shopping gurus predict a boom around this year’s Black Friday as families feeling the squeeze search for the best pre-Christmas bargains.
Spending is expected to total £9 billion, according to research by Vouchercodes. But how good really are the bargains on offer?
Yesterday, consumer watchdog Which? published damning research concluding that just one in ten of the deals advertised last year was a genuine saving.
Paddington Bear Soft Toy: Original price: Hamleys. £30 Black Friday 2020: £18 — the price it stayed at until New Year. Price today: £20.99
Researchers analysed deals across six retailers — Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Richer Sounds — and found some 184 of the 201 products price tracked were the same price, or even cheaper, in the six months prior to Black Friday.
But that doesn’t mean shoppers should feel they have already missed out on a bargain.
Because today, a Mail investigation reveals what happened after Black Friday last year, proving yet again that the number of genuine one-off deals worth sharpening your elbows for are, in truth, scarce.
The products monitored for pricing and discounting over the past 12 months by the Mail included TVs, computers and tech. But also toys, kitchen gadgets and popular beauty gifts.
Kenwood kMix mixer
Original price at Argos: £429.99
Black Friday 2020: £299.99,
Lowest price (Boxing Day): £199.99
Price today: £399.99
Lenovo smart clock
Original price (ao.com): £80
Black Friday 2020: £34
Price today: £29
And out of the 27 items we tracked, half were found to be cheaper or as cheap at other times of the year.
For example, a Kenwood Mixer sold by Argos was reduced to £299.99 on Black Friday in 2020. But had shoppers waited until the Boxing Day sale, they could have saved themselves a further £100.
Meanwhile at John Lewis, a coffee machine offered for £299 on Black Friday fell to £249 in the run-up to Christmas.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Original price at John Lewis: £899
Black Friday 2020: £659, where it remained up to Christmas
Price today: £929
A further eight items, although cheapest on Black Friday, were heavily discounted in the Christmas sale period — proving yet again that the vast majority of deals are not as good as they appear to be.
The Which? study warns shoppers to take ‘time-limited’ Black Friday offers with a pinch of salt.
‘We’ve found time and again that the vast majority of deals advertised on Black Friday are not as good as the marketing hype would suggest and many are likely to be on sale at the same price or less at other times of the year,’ says Lisa Barber, editor of home products and services at Which?.
She warns that to find real bargains, shoppers need to avoid impulse purchases and carry out research using price-tracking websites.
Ossie Bayram, of price monitoring website PriceSpy, adds: ‘This year, retailers are especially keen to have a good Black Friday and Christmas period, following the past 18 months.
We’ve seen 13 per cent of prices increase earlier this month in the build-up to Black Friday, which have now started to drop.
This might give an illusion of discounts for Black Friday, but in reality, these prices are often the same, if not higher than months prior.’
Meanwhile, here are the results from our own Black Friday investigation . . .
Deals that weren’t one day wonders:
Original price: £35
Black Friday 2020: £24.50
Lowest price (January 2021): £17.50
Price today: £17.50 (sold out).
Its black Friday price at shopdisney.co.uk stayed the same over the Christmas period before falling further in the New Year.
Original price: £70
Black Friday 2020: £55.99
Lowest price (Cyber Monday): £48.99
Price today: £35 The price of the Sylvanian Families Terrace House gift set from John Lewis was lowest on Cyber Monday through to Christmas, after which it rose to the pre-sale price.
Apollo Roxie Bike
Original price: £115
Black Friday 2020: £90
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £90
Price today: £120
Halfords’ lowest price was on Black Friday, and it remained at £90 until Christmas Day, before returning to its pre-sale price.
Disney original price: £60
Black Friday 2020: £48
Lowest Price (January 2021): £30
Price Today: £35.99
The New Year sale saw its Black Friday price at shopdisney.co.uk slashed further still.
Original price: £499
Black Friday 2020: £399
Lowest Price (New Year): £399
Price today: £349 A spokesman says: ‘If the price of a Black Friday product is reduced during event period, shoppers will get the difference back on an e-giftcard.’
Babyliss Curl Secret
Original price: £119.99
Black Friday 2020: £58
Lowest Price (Black Friday and Dec 21, 2020): £58
Price today: £74.99
A Boots spokesman says: ‘We offer a price match promise on our electrical beauty products.’
Ultimate ears boom 3
Original price: £129.99
Black Friday 2020: £99.99
Lowest price (Xmas Eve 2020): £99
Price today: £129.99
A Christmas Eve offer at John Lewis was the best – by pennies — now back at its pre-sale price.
Sage Duo coffee maker
Original price: £379
Black Friday 2020: £299
Lowest price (Xmas 2020): £249
Price today: £298.96
A John Lewis spokesman says: ‘In our Never Knowingly Undersold price promise, we match High Street competitors and monitor prices all year round.’
Lakeland slow cooker
Original price: £59.99
Black Friday 2020: £39.99 until Christmas Lowest price (Black Friday until Christmas): £39.99
Price today: £64.99
A Lakeland spokesman says: ‘Lakeland aim to provide excellent, genuine value for money all year round.’
Xmas discounts nearly as good
Wall-climbing robot vehicle
Original price: £30
Black Friday 2020: £15
Price today: £17.09
Hamleys prices dipped to £18 for Christmas and have stayed lower than the pre-sale price since this summer.
Fire TV Stick
Original price: £49.99
Black Friday 2020: £29.99
Price today: £49.99
Amazon’s Black Friday discount was just £10 cheaper than at Christmas (£39.99).
Original price: £58
Black Friday 2020: £29
Price today: £58
Tesco’s Black Friday deal was best but nearly matched at Christmas (£34).
Ring video doorbell 3
Original price: £179
Black Friday 2020: £119
Price today: £159
Amazon’s Black Friday price beats the rest, but the £139 Christmas price tag was still cheap.
Original price: £109.99
Black Friday 2020: £79.99
Price today: £109.99
Black Friday was the best price at currys. co.uk and it was only £89 over Christmas and into New Year.
Original price: £249
Black Friday 2020: £139.99
Lowest price (Nov 2021): £134.25
Price today: £179.99
An Amazon spokesman says: ‘Prices fluctuate
Tefal steam iron
Original price: £139.99
Black Friday 2020: £69.99
Price today: £139.99
Black Friday just beats the Christmas sale price of £79.99 at Robert Dyas — which was also a good price drop.
Original price: £189.95
Black Friday 2020: £149.95
Price today: £299.95
The Black Friday price of these Studio 3 wireless headphones from Argos was the best, but a sale price of £169.95 ran into New Year.
Black Friday really was best
Gtech Vacuum Cleaner
Original price: £199.99
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £129.99
Original price: £65.99
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £51.99
Original price: £199.99
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £149
Sony DAB car stereo
Original price: £399
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £279
Kindle Kids edition
Original price: £99.99
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £59.99
Sonos Move smart speaker
Original price: £399
Lowest price (Black Friday 2020): £199